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The Chris Addison interview

Trudie Robinson gets under the skin of an unassuming comedian prior to his Thursday's Lowry show

Published on March 8th 2010.


The Chris Addison interview

Chris Addison may not yet be a household name, but he’s certainly become a recognisable TV face in the last few years.

It does take it out of you. Alun Cochrane (comedian) said a great thing that the mistake that comics make when they go out on the road is that they relax thinking their show’s finally finished, the shape they need it to be in. That's not the case.

Firstly Armando Iannucci cast him as Ollie Reeder, the hapless junior in his sharp political satire The Thick of It. Then last year there was In The Loop, a film companion rather than a big screen version of The Thick of It, set in the States and starring The Sopranos’ James Gandolfini as well as Thick of It’s Peter Capaldi and Addison.

Surely that would have made for a jazzy red carpet moment?

“It didn’t,” laughs Addison. “It was the most unglamorous experience really. It didn’t even feel like a film when I was making it. Then our British premier was at the Glasgow Film Theatre which for all of its loveliness was not a red carpet occasion, just some red mats they put outside a few days earlier.”

Oh well, the film was quality, and well received too. And he’s currently getting round the youngsters now with a star turn as the slimy, somewhat sadistic headmaster in Channel 4 teen romp Skins. Addison is an admirer of the series and doesn’t mind his character being a bit two-dimensional.

“They’ve done a really clever thing there, John Griffin the producer, who used to do Shameless and stuff, said when I first got the script I couldn’t understand why all the adults were so cartoony? Then I realised when I was seventeen I just thought why are my parents so stupid? When I answered that I got the show. So having these cartoony exaggerated figures played by, usually people from comedy, is a really good idea. Fantastic show.”

On the comedy circuit he’s always been a star, winning the North West Comedian of the Year competition in 1995, just months after he had started out in stand up, he went on to be nominated for the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh fringe three times.

The TV work has inevitably led to him taking a bit of time away from stand up of late but in 2008 he decided it was time to get back to stand up and embarked on a mini tour.

“Yeah it was great actually, really good fun. I really enjoyed myself. It was also material I’ve had for years and years and years. This on the other hand is whole new stuff.”

The ‘this’ to which he refers is his latest show, a complete set of new material.

Unlike his Edinburgh shows of the past there’s no distinct theme (Atomicity was about the periodic table, The Ape That Got Lucky about evolution, Civilisation about - well we think you can work that one out for yourselves).

Instead it’s a collection of material that is, he considers ‘more personal.’ He’s enjoying the tour so far but admits that, “It does take it out of you. Alun Cochrane (comedian) said a great thing that the mistake that comics make when they go out on the road is that they relax thinking their show’s finally finished, the shape they need it to be in. That's not the case. What they actually need to do is not forget that you still have to do the physical touring bit. It can be quite gruelling. So at the end of it, yes a holiday.”

Chris Addison is at The Lowry on Thursday 11 March. Tickets £15. www.thelowry.com

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